Fun Outdoor Activities for Children

imgresSpring is here! I can feel it in the air and I am sure your children can as well! Here are some outdoor activity ideas for them to enjoy.

What about the old-fashioned outdoor games of hopscotch; jumping rope and Hide and Seek?

Red Light, Green Light; Simon Says; Follow the Leader, and Mother May I (see how to play below) are games that require no supplies and provide your children with the opportunity to follow directions. Which, by the way, are essential to school. 🙂

Does your daughter like to draw? Sidewalk chalk is all kinds of fun. Be sure and take a picture of the creations afterwards.

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Sidewalk Chalk (homeschooling ideas.com)

  • Plaster of Paris or egg shells
  • Tempera Paint- liquid or powder
  • Old bowls or pots for mixing
  • Molds –
      Have fun choosing! You could make small chalks with ice cube trays, big fat toilet roll or kitchen roll chalks. Or use popsicle or play-doh molds for something different. Shaped silicone baking trays can also be used.
  • Water
  • Spatula or old spoon
  • Possibly needed – Wax paper and/or petroleum jelly; duct tape; tin foil or plastic wrap.

Next you need to prepare your molds. Paper towel rolls or toilet rolls should be cut to size if they are too long for you. Tape over one end to stop the chalk mixture running out when you fill them (you can use duct tape). They also will need lining with wax paper or freezer paper to make them waterproof. Disposable molds won’t need any preparation – you can always cut them away from the chalk if they get stuck. Coat any other molds (such as your baking trays or ice cube trays) with petroleum jelly so the chalk will slip out easily when dry. Or alternatively, you could line them with tin foil or film wrap.

Bubbles

Who doesn’t like to blow bubbles and pop them? Bubble recipes follow for your son to enjoy. Bubble wands can be made out of pipe cleaners (craft stems) that are twisted together for durability.

Exploratorium Bubble Formula
from the Exploratorium web site

2/3 cup Joy dishwashing soap
1 gallon water
2 to 3 tablespoons of glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)

Cyndi’s Bubble Recipes
from the Nathan’s Wish web site

1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons of sugar

Cyndi suggests adding a dab of food coloring for colorful bubbles. Mix the solution and place in a shallow pan (or refill your old bubble containers). NOTE: More recipes and fun with bubbles are available at the website link above.

Homemade Bubbles
from Kids Domain Craft Exchange

1/2 (500 ml) cup dishwashing detergent
4-1/2 (4.5 liter) cup water
4 tablespoons (60 ml) glycerin
(available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)
Measure out the water, detergent, and glycerin into container with a cover and stir gently. Note: The longer you let the mixture set, the larger the bubbles are and the longer they seem to last.
  • Red Light, Green LightUsing  a large yard have all the kids line up on one side. the person who is “it” stays in the middle of the yard.  When “it” says green light, all the kids run as fast as they can.  When “it” says red light, everyone stops. whoever doesn’t stop is out. “It” keeps saying red light or green light until all the kids are out or has gone from one end of the yard and back to where they started from.The last person to make it back to the starting line is “it”.  There is a  rule that you have two seconds to come to a complete stop or hit the ground.
  • Simon Says

One person is designated Simon, the others are the players. Standing in front of the group, Simon tells players what they must do. However, the players must only obey commands that begin with the words “Simon Says.” If Simon says, “Simon says touch your nose,” then players must touch their nose. But, if Simon simply says, “jump,” without first saying “Simon says,” players must not jump. Those that do jump are out.
Objective
Follow directions and stay in the game for as long as possible! The last player standing wins and becomes the next Simon. If you’re Simon, the object is to try to trick the players to follow your commands when they shouldn’t.

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  • Follow the Leader

One player, the Leader, begins moving around with actions that the rest of the players must mimic. Anything — including wildly flailing his hands or furiously scratching his head — what the leader does, the others must follow. Those players who disobey, or lag behind the leader’s motions are out of the game. The last person standing becomes the new Leader. It is best to play with three or more. 

  • Mother May I? 

This game is a simple childhood action game that might be good for reinforcing the use of manners. One person is chosen as the “mother” (or “captain” if it is a male).  She or he stands facing away from a line of kids and selects a child at random, or in order.  The mother/captain calls out a direction, step type, and number of steps.  For example, the mother/captain can say: “Scott, you may take seven (or any other number)’ baby/normal/giant steps forward/backward.”The child then responds with “Mother may I?” (or “Captain may I?” if it is a male player in charge).  The mother/captain states “Yes” or “No”, depending on her whim, and the child obeys and takes the steps.  If the child forgets to ask “Mother may I?” then he/she goes back to the beginning of the line.  The first one to touch the Mother/Captain wins and becomes the new Mother/Captain.

An alternate version of the game is similar: each child takes turns asking, “Mother/Captain may I take [x kind of] steps?” The child who is mother (or captain) replies yes or no.

There are other kinds of steps possible for this game – be creative and come up with your own.  For example, there are:

  • Bunny hops: hopping like a bunny.
  • Frog hops: going down on all fours and hopping up like a frog.
  • Scissors steps: jump while crossing your feet, then jump while uncrossing them was one step.
  • Skip steps: steps as though one is skipping.

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